SALT LAKE CITY – If he wins the statewide Republican primary vote on June 25, gubernatorial candidate Phil Lyman has big plans as Utah’s future governor.

Given his support from former President Donald Trump, it’s hardly surprising that some of the staunch conservative’s plans focus on election security.

“I’m fully committed to an honest, reasonable election process that people can have faith in,” Lyman said during a telephone town hall meeting on June 10.

To achieve that level of trust, the candidate believes that Utah should go back to in-person voting at precinct level.

“We’d all vote at a local level (under that system),” he explained to a caller. “You’d know the people at the polling place and trust them. That would be a really great way to go.”

But Lyman acknowledged that Utah has a long way to go before in-person local voting could be restored.

“In the meantime,” he said, “we’re stuck with universal mail-in balloting. It’s a weak system and we need an external audit to put some objective eyes on that process.”

As a former member of the Utah House, Lyman advanced an unsuccessful election reform proposal in the 2021 general session of the Legislature and also voted with a minority of Republicans there to end Utah’s local experiments with Ranked Choice Voting.

“Ranked Choice Voting is an instrument that‘s been developed by the left to push liberals into political offices,” he said, dismissing the entire process as being totally dependent on an algorithm in the voting machines that nobody really understands.

“It’s just a scheme … to elect moderates,” Lyman argued, “and not even Republican moderates.”

The first step toward returning Utah to an honest, reasonable election process, Lyman insisted, is getting the office of the lieutenant governor out of the mix.

“That post is potentially an extension of the governor’s office,” he explained. “Moving forward, I want to get the post of secretary of state reinstituted (to oversee elections) … an office that would be totally separate from the highest executive position in the state.”

Lyman is a fifth-generation Utahn who holds academic degrees from Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. He has served six years in the Utah Legislature.

Lyman was the clear choice for governor earning two-thirds of the delegates at the statewide Republican Nominating Convention in Salt Lake City on May 1. In addition to his conservative credentials, the Blanding resident also traded on his support from Trump, who pardoned Lyman in 2020 after he was convicted of leading an illegal protest on federal land.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox survived to face off against Lyman in the June 25 GOP primary balloting only by virtue of collecting voter signatures.

During the June 10 telephone town hall meeting, Lyman also promised to end Utah’s tax on the Social Security benefits for senior citizens; to reduce or eliminate the tax burdens for all Utahns; to stand against illegal immigrants coming to Utah; and to fight the federal government for control the state’s public lands.

Mail-in ballots for the GOP primary have already been sent to registered Republican voters here in Cache Valley and throughout Utah.

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